I also posted this in the other forum. Not sure which should be used?
The Act of Story Statement
Via ruthless opportunism, unparalleled deceit, and an unscrupulous commitment to winning, Elle Ellerbe has achieved The American Dream at the cost of her own happiness. Kidnapped by armed assailants in the midst of a corporate heist, Elle is given a second chance to redefine her principles, re-hash her priorities, and build the life she truly seeks, as a member of the criminal underground.
The Antagonists: Elle Ellerbe and Vladimir Volkov
The wealth, affluence, and professional prestige which mark Elle Ellerbe's adult life bear no resemblance to the orphanage and destitution which defined her childhood. Through ruthless opportunism, unparalleled deceit, and a commitment to winning no matter the cost to herself or others, Elle Ellerbe has achieved The American Dream she always envisioned for herself. Still, her ascent has come with heavy burdens: an abusive fiancé who resents her endless deceit, a degrading lover who suspects her manipulation, and a personal struggle with the manic depression which claimed the lives of both her parents. Desperate for true love, the one thing she has always desired yet never experienced, Elle dreams of escaping the miserable existence she has violently forged for herself. When armed assailants kidnap Elle in the midst of a corporate heist, she is given a new identity; a second chance at building the life she truly desires as a member of The Syndicate, an international criminal enterprise. Still, in Elle's new existence, her marked selfishness, affinity for toxic relationships, and desire for absolute control recreate the same unhappy scenario she encountered in her former identity. As Elle's idyllic aspirations for her new identity waiver, her former existence begins to invade her new life at every turn. Forced to confront herself as the true obstacle to her own happiness, Elle makes a power play which will change her life and the lives of everyone she is connected to, forever.
After the murders of his parents at the hands of the KGB, Vladimir Volkov was raised by his Uncle, a Russian bookie in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn. After elevating himself from local street level crime to multi-million dollar international theft, Vladimir struggles to reconcile the demons of his past: drug addiction, stalking, and a series of violent rapes against women. Having achieved some modicum of peace following years of self-deprivation as a means of atonement, Vladimir sets into motion a plan which will reunite him with the love of his life: Elle Ellerbe. After kidnapping Elle in the midst of a corporate heist, Vladimir initiates Elle as a member of The Syndicate, the international criminal group under which he operates. The life Vlad dreams of building with Elle spins out of control as their mutual deceit, self-serving decisions, and sexual dysfunction erode their romantic intentions. With his personal achievements and newfound peace hanging in the balance, Vlad must find equilibrium with Elle's new presence in his life or release her forever.
The Syndicate Rules
Elle and Vlad
Genre and Comparables
Genre : Crime Fiction / Romantic Fiction
I have to preface this by saying I searched long and hard for novels with a black female protagonist in the context of characters of non-black cultures. My findings were thin and the journey of the protagonist is not at all comparable in emotional complexity/cultural context. I'm going to use a television show as a comparable for that reason.
Scandal meets Fifty Shades of Grey
Insecure meets The Firm
The Primary Conflict
Elle Ellerbe resents the decisions she has made to achieve the wealth and influence she holds, yet in order to achieve the true love and happiness she longs for, Elle must make sacrifices she may not be prepared to accept.
After silencing his inner demons, Vladimir Volkov feels ready for the life he has always envisioned with Elle Ellerbe at his side, but maintaining the peace of mind he found absent of Elle may require greater discipline and sacrifice than he is capable of exhibiting.
The Secondary Conflict
Vlad and Elle work cohesively to defraud a major insurance corporation of $20 million in the biggest heist of Vlad's career. As the two use their respective skill sets to stage and execute the heist, a power struggle of epic proportions threatens to collapse both their romantic and working relationships.
The Inner Conflict
Elle desires wealth and affluence so strongly that the ruthlessness she employed in her former life has become embedded in her personality. Elle struggles to employ new principles such as compromise, submission, and honesty to foster the true love she has always desired aside Vladimir Volkov.
Vlad created an idyllic version of Elle during the many years he stalked her without her knowledge. Now that the "real" Elle is a part of his life, he is largely unprepared for the mutual power struggle and manipulation present in their dynamic. As Vlad struggles to maintain the mental stability which allowed him to suppress his demons, his desire for violence and for rape re-emerge in his psyche.
The setting changes often throughout the story as the main characters are employed in international criminal enterprise and live somewhat nomadic lives as a result.
Charlotte — a city in the South, beautiful Charlotte looks and feels like a suburb yet offers a somewhat metropolitan business experience, serving as headquarters to major banks and other big business. As major figures in business, our characters live and work in upscale settings characterized by aesthetic beauty and modern convenience. These settings include:
Elle and Francois' luxury condo
Perth & Associates - Elle and John's (her lover's) corporate workplace
New York — after Elle’s kidnapping, New York City becomes the main venue. Our characters stay on the move between hotels and luxury residences owned by Vlad. As is characteristic to the “New York Experience” our characters frequent local restaurants, gyms, and coffee shops while conducting business and during free time.
The W in NYC
Church Street Boxing Gym
Richard Meier on Prospect Park
Cheryl’s Global Soul
JFK International Airport
Prague— Elle is officially initiated into The Syndicate inside an old castle which looks dilapidated on the outside, but has been renovated within. The main symposium is a sphere which seats hundreds of members around a stage at the bottom center.
The Syndicate Symposium
Paris — The novel rounds out in Paris, where our characters reflect and begin to plan for the “new world order” Elle created. This setting includes the site of a press conference, a restaurant, and Vlad’s private Jet en route to New York.
Le Grande Poisson
A forum where New York Pitch Conference attendees post assignments related to their novel or nonfiction project. These assignments relate to conflict levels, antagonist and protagonist sketches, plot lines, as well as story premise.